Millvale, PA One of Pittsburgh’s hottest Rivertown Communities

Millvale was formed around iron manufacturers, saw works and many other industries at the mouth of Girtys Run starting mainly after the Civil War. Population peaked around 8,000 residents in the 1930s. This number has been cut down by more than half, typical of many Pittsburgh manufacturing towns. But Millvale has retained much of its historic fabric, especially its historic main street fabric along Grant and North Avenues.

Due to its location as a water collection point into the Allegheny River for many upstream north hill communities, Millvale has received more than its fair share of flooding. In response the community became an EcoDistrict to integrate sustainability goals (especially improved storm water systems) into its revitalization strategy. This coupled with overflow market from nearby gentrifying communities like Lawrenceville has put Millvale on the map as an attractive urban alternative to live or hang out.

To further improve its recent urban regeneration, Millvale needs to continue building more recreational spaces, increasing its tree canopy, and attracting new population, businesses, and eventually quality urban in-fill. A tougher challenge is to re-introduce walkable schools into the borough. 
Click here to view the entire Millvale album on my Flickr page

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Millvale is very close and convenient to Downtown Pittsburgh but more could be desired from its public transit access.
* Nice bike connection to Lawrenceville via the 40th street bridge and the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.
* Economically a pretty high poverty rate but a good amount of income diversity here. Solid generational diversity with near 50% family households.
* Decent amount of rental product that generally skews low.
* Nice diversity of for-sale housing. Half of the sold product is fixer uppers scaling below 50K but plenty of stable product selling in the 100Ks and some in the 200Ks.
* Nice cultural amenities including a nice array of restaurants, bars/breweries & cafes, a performing arts space, and the Ton Pottery Ceramic Center. Good to keep in mind that amenities of Lawrenceville are only a 20-30 minute walk as well.
* Diverse array of neighborhood amenities as well: public library, post office, several local drug stores, a record store, bakery, florist, and lots of other creative stores. Unfortunately no walkable supermarket or other larger retailers in the Borough.
* ADA infrastructure is of high quality along the biz district of Grant and North. More hit or miss on residential streets.
* Good imageability with the dual main streets and landmark buildings. High quality urban form and streetscape here as well.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Racial diversity is pretty limited in Millvale as around 90% of the population is White
* Park and recreational space is a bit limited but several small pocket parks and gardens exist in the borough along with an attractive waterfront park and trail.
* Walkable schools within the Borough is limited St. Anthony School for children with down syndrome. There is a elementary school in adjacent Reserve Township. Other schools are pretty far.
* Great tree canopy on the edges of the borough along the hillsides but not great within the town.

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